Jorge Luis Borges Questions and Answers

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What are the similarities and contrasts between Borges and Gabriel Garcia Marques?

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Jorge Luis Borges and Gabriel García Márquez are both European American, male, 20th-century South American authors who wrote fiction and other genres. Borges was older and was from Argentina, in the far south of the continent, while García Márquez was from Colombia in the far north. Both men ran afoul of repressive political regimes in their own countries. One common theme they addressed is the labyrinth.

Born in the 19th century, Borges was an Anglophile whose work was strongly influenced by European surrealism and by Gothic, fantasy, and horror traditions. He had strong affinities to 19th-century American writers, especially Edgar Allan Poe and H. P. Lovecraft. Despite his strong political beliefs, Borges did not write overtly political works. The threat posed by oppression and injustice often takes fantastic form, as characters find themselves in impossible situations from which they may escape by equally impossible means; in this regard, his work also draws on mythology.

García Márquez was originally a journalist and later turned to fiction. While he was strongly influenced by Borges, his other influences include Latin American historical fiction, including the foundational narratives of nationalism. He does overtly include political themes, and many characters are military and authoritarian government leaders. Still, he weaves fantastic elements into tales that otherwise often seem ordinary or prosaic, earning his work the label of "magical realism."

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